part XI… pregnant??

September 2011:
Two months back at work and strange things started to happen. Around noon each Thursday I would get super nauseated, beyond tired, often needing to go home sick – sometimes having to spend the next 3 days in bed. Work had begun to make me ridiculously tired – my Tuesday nights began to feel suspiciously similar to Friday nights after a 60 hour week. And then the nausea became more frequent.

PregnantSEMD

Lucie ~ 1998

I took a pregnancy test… because I most definitely had experienced these symptoms twice before in my life!
There is absolutely no way I’m pregnant. I’m 44 years old – I’m pretty sure I’m pre-menopausal for crying out loud! Well it can’t be, I mean, my tubes were tied right after Zella was born. And not just tied, but tied in double knots (if Eddie was finally able to convince the doctor to do it). It’s just not possible, is it? But they say God does have a sense of humor? So…?
Results in. Nope. Not pregnant. Great! But what’s with the pregnant-like symptoms? Hmmm…?

 
October:
By now my weeks had settled into a consistent pattern:
Monday – exhausted. In bed early.
Tuesday – super exhausted. In bed super early.
Wednesday – whatever’s worse than super exhausted. In bed instantly upon arriving home, then up again and off to church for Wednesday night activities.
Thursday – a little dizzy in the morning… kinda like day 1 concussion back in March… but not that bad… then by noon my body would just sort of shut down. Nausea, Vertigo, Fatigue and Confusion… the Fab Four, all at the same time.
Friday thru Sunday – sick. In and out of bed.

 

PregnantZRD

Lydia ~ 2002

I decided to take pregnancy test #2.  What was that Sherlock Holmes quote… “Once you eliminate the impossible, whatever remains…” something like that?   Yup… I’ll take the home pregnancy test again, just to eliminate that impossibility once and for all.
Results in. Nope. Definitely not pregnant, and definitely at a loss as to what was making me feel this way.

 

Early November:
Sick and tired and desperate for some kind of answer, I took pregnancy test #3.
Oh what the heck. I’ve been taking pregnancy tests for almost three months now, what’s the harm in another? It’s silly. I know that. By this time, if I was actually pregnant (which of course I could not be) I would have had plenty of other evidence of it. But if I’m not pregnant, why do I keep feeling pregnant?
Results in. I’m not pregnant. Of course not. Yay? I guess..?
But my symptoms were getting worse and work was becoming more difficult. And it seemed that I still wasn’t any closer to finding a reason for them. It was getting harder and harder to just shrug the nausea and fatigue off. After finally ruling out pregnancy, and after doctor visits that ruled out any sickness that might have been causing me to feel that way, my thoughts began to turn back to my concussion. Yet all of the doctors had cleared me, hadn’t they? They had shined lights in my eyes and had me follow their fingers multiple times and told me “You’re good to go. Time to get back in the saddle and leave that brain injury behind you. Go get ‘em tiger!” or something to that effect, which was certainly exactly what I wanted to hear.

 

Actually, it wasn’t all of the doctors that said that. Dr Jennifer, my reliable and knowledgeable chiropractor, hadn’t truly given me the green light to resume my life. I had started going to her on a monthly basis about 5 years prior to my head injury, so she knew me very well. After my accident, when I saw her on my previously scheduled appointments, she started asking me entirely different questions than the other doctors had. She noticed subtle differences in me that neither I nor anyone else had noticed. For example, at my very first visit after the concussion, she asked me if I’d noticed that my speech had slowed. She had an insight into my concussion that was so far beyond my grasp… that I kinda didn’t pay attention to her. When I told her of my failed pregnancy tests and the symptoms that prompted me to take them … and I laughed at how silly I’d been, she didn’t laugh. She looked concerned and quickly ordered a thorough exam of neurological testing in Minneapolis.


“He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him. And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together.”  Colossians 1:17

In hindsight, I was “sort of” pregnant at that point. Not realizing it at the time, I was awkwardly in the process of unknowingly giving birth to a new era in my life. And like it slowly tipped my world upside down when I had my babies, my life was changing dramatically. As time went on, it was only in him that I was holding together.

part X… clueless

The blessing of not selling our home to go bigger and better, was 6 years from being fully realized. As I look back on many phases and decisions in my life, I am frequently reminded of blessings that, at the time, seemed like regular old occurrences. When the Lord tells us, “…He will never leave you, nor forsake you.”  (Deuteronomy 31:6) He truly means it. His ability to patiently bless us beyond our present vision… frankly… astounds me.

By the end of March, I ‘passed’ a follow-up MRI with flying colors. So, per the doctor’s orders, all systems were set on “go” to continue my life as it was, pre-injury.

Lucie’s 13th birthday party welcomed in April. We successfully surprised her and let her and her friends stay up ALL night (a persistent request of hers since age 9). It was a great party with nonsense and noise and even a dance party in our garage with me instigating new and crazy moves to the increasingly louder music.

That was Thursday of Easter weekend. By the time Monday rolled around, I found myself unusually tired and having periods of 3-4 hours/day of blurred vision. Very strange.

Shortly after that, it began to occur to me that attending our church services nearly made me pass out. When I sang I got light-headed. Weird. I wondered why and quit singing.

The next Sunday, halfway through the service, it dawned on me that I had just about no idea what our pastor had been preaching about. Instead of concentrating on the teaching from the pulpit (something I looked forward to every week), my eyes wandered all over the place, taking my brain with them. Zero focus. Just random thoughts about whatever and whomever my eyes landed on:

  • “When did the church get ceiling fans? It’s not hot today. Why are they on and why are they spinning so fast?
  • “Oh, there’s Colleen, I need to ask her about getting the kids together on Saturday.
  • “Is that Lani? Is Rich with her? I have to remember to ask them if they can sub for us next week and lead our Bible study.
  • “Why don’t they turn Fred’s mic down. It’s so loud.
  • “Sara’s got a new haircut. Very cute. What did I need to tell her? Oh, that’s right. I can’t bring Gabe to AWANA Wednesday night, can she?
  • “When did we get all of these ceiling fans!?
  • “There are the Pedersons. Shoot! … I was supposed to bring our girls’ outgrown snowpants for their kids”.

When church ended and I’d talked to the people I remembered to talk to after the service, I would find myself in a surreal sort of daze, wandering to the car. After arriving back home, I went straight to bed for the rest of the day due to sudden and extreme fatigue and nausea, clueless as to the cause.

  • At school (my workplace), I found myself making odd new requests of my students: “Kids, while I read this story, could you do your best to sit super still?”
    • “Why, Mrs. Drake?”
  • “Well, today I feel a little bit like I’m on a boat all the time, and when you move, it’s like the water moves.”
    • “Oh, we understand that, Mrs. Drake! One time when I was fishing…”
    • “My mom and dad said they felt like that on a plane one time…”
    • “My grandpa took me canoeing when it was windy once and…”
    • Etc…. 

(One of the things I love most about children is their willingness to accept you as you are when you are open and honest with them. It’s like one, big, compassionate and endless hug. I miss those hugs).

It was while I was at work, busy writing reports, emails and other notes for the adult literacy coaching portion of my day, that I discovered that I’d begun to frequently leave off the last letters of the words I was writing. Often entire words were missing. Also very weird.

In early May, after an all-school assembly, I found myself feeling like I was floating. A week later at another assembly, I could feel a wave of nausea slowly creep from my stomach to my head, followed by a feeling guilt for having to ask my colleague, Sue, to take over my class of 28 kids in addition to her 29 while I rushed out the nearest exit to throw-up. Both occasions left me feeling dizzy, unable to function, in need of a driver to get me home, and in need of 24 hours in bed to recover… with me still clueless as to why.

I found myself in a variety of similarly bizarre situations throughout the remainder of the year. As the 2010-11 school year came to a close I was exhausted and perplexed and looking forward to the relief of summer break more than I ever had before. And thanks to the combined efforts of my mom and my hubby, it was actually going to be a summer off, with none of the usual teacher training seminars and tutoring that I typically filled my “time off” with.

My only summer commitment was a no-pressure, fun commitment. Lucie, Lydia and I all tried out for parts at the local community college’s production of Annie.  And to one degree or another (little Lydia was a stage hand) we all got parts!  Lucie had a growing interest in acting and I thought it might be a great stress reliever for me, so why not? What better way to keep my body and brain active and be a kid alongside my girls?

Funny though, with a cast of about 25, it soon became obvious that I was the one getting yelled at most often by the director… even more than the 15 rambunctious kids playing the parts of the naughty New York orphans! Why? What did he have against me?

One day at practice, Lucie figured it out and came gently to my rescue. It seemed that I was not following the script. I knew my lines but I did not know when and where to deliver them … which was odd, because all my life I have been blessed with a deadbolt lock on my ability to hold things into memory and retrieve them as needed. Now, (this increasingly unrecognizable NOW) though my memory seemed fairly normal, the retrieval process was becoming an obvious mess.

Lucie, Lydia and I proceeded to make four maps and posted them at my four different stage entry points. Each map had explicit instructions – for me alone – as to when, where and what I was responsible for. The director’s voice no longer rang in my ears.

At the end of July the play was over. I felt that the past months’ experiences had left me refreshed and recharged and ready for the 2011-12 school year. On August 1st the lights turned green and my school year began. As usual, it was 0 to 60 in 3.9 seconds – engine screaming and tires smoking.

I felt good. I felt in control again. All went so well at the beginning that I felt like the old me. Lisa Drake was back! I was confident and moving forward fast as a 50% classroom literacy teacher and 50% literacy coach for teachers. The strange symptoms that came with singing or shouting or talking and laughing with friends; the symptoms that came with listening to the wonderful sounds of a classroom; all of those stormy, seasick symptoms… they all seemed to subside. Whatever all those weird reactions to normal, everyday things were, they must have all been just ‘in my head’.

I was ready to roll…

 

*This document is the sole property of L. Marie Drake © 2017.  Permission granted for printing copies of this page on the basis that they are not used for personal profit or any financial gain. Thank you.*

part IX… selling our home

Saturday morning, about 4 weeks post-injury, we were finally ready to get the house on the market. Ironically, I woke up with thoughts contrary to that well prepped plan. I said to Eddie, “I need to tell you something. You probably won’t want to hear it… but the Lord has been pressing it on my heart all week and I cannot move forward with the realtor’s pictures today until I get this burden off my mind.”

Blessing #5… a burning bush.

Ed had already been awake and had begun straightening up the house for the website photos that were going to be taken in 4 hours. He came back to bed. “What?” Normally when I deter him from a project it comes with a huff, a sigh and an attitude of frustration that I am interrupting his diligent task. But this time, he was very patient. Very peaceful. Hmmm…

ourhome“Ed, I know what I am about to say is going to be polar opposite of all that we have been working towards and dreaming of for the past 10 years, but I don’t think we should sell the house right now. In fact, I think we shouldn’t sell at all. Possibly ever.”

He just stared at me and said, “Oh my goodness, I had the same thought this week! It’s not that I’m afraid to sell… heck, I’ve moved dozens of times in my life. In fact, we’ve never really even liked this house’s style, layout, size, etc… it was just an easy flip… so we really should stick with the plan to sell this and buy our last home, our dream home. But I feel so strongly about what the Lord has laid on my heart… well… it’s so bizarre… I almost feel as if I have seen a burning bush?!”

“Eddie, it must be of the Lord! This was not even on the menu of options for either of us… tell me more about what He has shown you this past week.”

“Well… I’m not really sure why we shouldn’t sell. In fact, I cannot even justify it in my head. But the Lord has laid it so heavily on my heart that I cannot move forward to sell this house. All morning when I have been prepping, I have felt completely wrong about it. This is amazing!  He has been talking to us both separately… but the same. What has the Lord shown you?”

As he looked at me, I knew there was one more remnant from the Lord’s pressing that I had yet to share with him. “Well…” This next part had me a bit scared as it was an old topic that had been tabled years ago… with the last conversation not being a very pleasant one. “For the first couple days this week, when I felt His leading, I had no words for ‘why’ He doesn’t want us to sell. Then as I continued to pray and chat with Him… I heard Him say… ‘don’t sell the house – pare down your expenses so that you can afford to homeschool the girls.’  I know this is a closed topic that we gave up on years ago… but because your job is now flexible and my job isn’t but it provides other family needs… what if you worked part-time – homeschooled the girls until noon-ish – they could do follow-up work on their own – and then you could go to work in the afternoon? That’s not set in stone… but if we remain in this house… we could afford for you to go part-time. And we could, most likely, afford the costs of home schooling?”

He looked shocked. “That’s a lot of information all at once, Lisa! Where did you come up with all that in a week?”

“Honestly, it all came out of left-field. And I am sorry to tell you all that… all at once… today… hours before we sign papers… but I feel so strongly convicted about it that it would be a mistake to not share it with you.”

“Okay… let’s pray… now.”

Remember the ‘thanksgiving’ emphasis I shared in part VII?  “…do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication WITH THANKSGIVING let your requests be made known to God.”   (Philippians 4:6)  Thankfully, right then and there, God stopped the sale of our little, affordable home… so that He was able to provide Bible-based schooling for our girls; quality time between father and daughters; more concentrated family time through rough waters ahead; and 5 years later… He was able to continue to provide a roof over our heads when I had to give up my career due to the lasting effects of my TBI… a financial hit that a larger, ‘better’ home would not have sustained.

Blessing #6… we didn’t sell the house.

So, very slowly, I am learning to pray through a situation with thanksgiving for the coming blessings that the Lord will provide through whatever difficulty I am currently facing.

When I pray only for Him to lessen my anxiety, my focus tends to be on me and how I am handling the situation.

When I pray with thanksgiving, my focus is most definitely on how God will be handling the situation. Then thanking Him, often in advance, for caring for and solving my crisis in His wayin His timing… with His answer… leads me to more faithfully following His sovereign and divine plan.

Blessing #7… we are able to home school the girls.

*This document is the sole property of L. Marie Drake © 2017.  Permission granted for printing copies of this page on the basis that they are not used for personal profit or any financial gain. Thank you.*

 

part VIII… home and whole

As the days passed, I spent more time sleeping and not moving than I had since I was about 5 years old and had pneumonia. It didn’t yet bother me that I couldn’t move crossBESTILL.jpg without the walls moving with me. I was more than grateful to no longer be vomiting or worrying about the escalating danger. All had been resolved, to my knowledge.  And, I had yet to be frustrated by all that I couldn’t do or say. I was just too strangely exhausted to even know the losses that were coming.

Blessing #3… Family and friends came and went with food, flowers and house cleaning (wish I could have booked that for a lifetime!). It’s funny… when you cannot see an illness, no one (including yourself) believes it is truly there. So, I gradually felt like anything that seemed ‘off’ about my day, was just a figment of my imagination. When people came and went, I felt a bit awkward telling them my story… as I didn’t look too different.

After about a week of obedient ‘resting’, I figured it was time to get back in the game. Although, I still couldn’t function normally – couldn’t drive, couldn’t walk a straight line, couldn’t hold a long conversation, etc. – my fear was that these stagnant behaviors would be my ruin. So, in an effort to CONQUER these weird new post-concussion actions of mine… I kept going… harder.

Yup… just as I had dreamed of in the ER… I purchased my first Sudoku book and tracked my progress in learning for my own proof that I was not losing my cognitive abilities. The girls and I tried out for a play through our local community theater – believing that should cover my summer respite (normally my job required me to be in training or training others all of June and August… but my mom and hubby put the kabosh on that). We continued prepping the house to get it on the market. We returned to our busy family schedule of sports, activities and church life. Planning for Lucie’s 13th surprise birthday party went from my hospital bed head to emails and action. Week two, I went back to work part-time. Week three, I went back to work full-time. Week four, back to work full-time-plus.

Blessing #4… Did I need a severe concussion to find my true identity even though I thought my heart was in the right place? The miracle was… I began to see His heart desires for my life.

“If with Christ you died to the elemental spirits of the world, why, as if you were still alive in the world, do you submit to regulations—”  “Do not handle, Do not taste, Do not touch” (referring to things that all perish as they are used)—according to human precepts and teachings?”  That’s a good question, God! I died to the world’s way the minute I submitted my sins to Your forgiveness and my path thereafter to Your will. So why do I want a better house? Why do I need to work more than is required of me? Why do I desire to fit into the merry-go-round of American expectations? “These have indeed an appearance of wisdom in promoting self-made religion and asceticism and severity to the body, but they are of no value in stopping the indulgence of the flesh.” So, Lisa, why do you think you always have to do more?  You need to make enough money to have all that our family needs and wants. You need to be involved in volunteering, donating, church activities, etc. You need to be a good mom, wife, daughter, friend… but why?  (Bible verses –Colossians 2:20-23)

Am I living life for what I need and want, creating a self-made religion? Or am I truly living life for what God has planned for me? Are my actions too self-driven from pride or are my actions a result of waiting upon the Lord’s design and being filled with a sincere passion for Him?

Who am I?

Deep down… truly… who am I?

 

**When I list blessings… I know that there were, and still are, many that I have taken for granted, and as a result, have gone unnoticed. My God is too great for me to be able to list all of His provisions and blessings that have decorated my life so abundantly!  As I cite them, I feel negligent in not capturing them all… but then again, I feel blessed. The fact that He would continue to bless me, in spite of my ingratitudes or ignorance, reminds me that He loves me more than I can even imagine.

*This document is the sole property of L. Marie Drake © 2017.  Permission granted for printing copies of this page on the basis that they are not used for personal profit or any financial gain. Thank you.*

mid-month news & info ~ july 2017

NEWS & Info

  • How do I explain a brain injury in one sentence or less? https://mildtbi.wordpress.com/2015/04/26/describing-mild-tbi-in-one-sentence/
  • Today, a dear friend reminded me that the words of the truth, the Bible, are something I need to nourish my spirit with over and over again…  “Immediately the father of the child cried out and said, “I believe; help my unbelief!”    Mark 9:24

  • Here is a wonderful website about a woman whose life was turned upside down by a major injury… http://www.joniandfriends.org/jonis-corner/jonis-bio/ .  Joni became a paraplegic at 17 years old.  Her story tells of how God pulled her out of the pit …thru her disability, other life events and most recently, breast-cancer.  She is full of inspiration!
  • Info from a researcher on a TBI group I follow… Matthew Bennett is a naturopathic doctor, acupuncturist, and athletic therapist who has recently relocated to Vancouver to start up his own holistic practice called Active Solutions Medicine.
    • “Dear TBI Tribe,  I would like to introduce myself [Matthew Bennett] and the project I have dedicated my clinical practice and life toward over the past 7 years.  Prior to this project I was working full-time as an Athletic Therapist with professional teams in the NHL, MLB and CFL. While working with teams such as the Ottawa Senators Hockey Club, I was responsible for the medical pre/rehabilitation of the team along with another therapist. When players were injured, I slept in their homes and hotel rooms waking them up every few hours to simply make sure they were alive. During these quiet hours we spoke about symptoms of moods, relationships, and ability to function while completing simple daily tasks. Countless times over six seasons I was asked, “how are we helping my head?” Sadly, we just said to rest, day after day and often led to medication, depression, suicide, abuse (substance, child, spouse, self).  We had a protocol for every injury, surgery and emergency scenario, except for TBI. Following the 08-09 season I left the NHL and returned to school to study medicine for the purpose of learning how to empower the brain and nourish the nervous system.  While in school I continued to work in a clinical setting and then returned as a clinical director for a large soccer academy mid-way through the school to help cover costs of the tuition.  This exposure to patients and athletes allowed me to complete game changing experiments with active individuals who are extremely tuned-in to the changes of positive and negative effects of their lifestyle habits. What I have been able to complete to date is the first patented formulation to help treat mTBI. The US Patent number is 9,101,580. As well, I have completed an initial 18-athlete study, a follow-up 60-athlete study and am currently developing a third study with various institutes. This single-blind data collected has shown a reduction in symptoms by a factor of three!  In general, the formula works in three ways 1- Reduces inflammation in specific structures within the brain (ex. asataxanthin reduces inflammation in the optic nerve); 2- Increasing energy to the brain (ex. Taurine); 3- Balance Hormones for adequate sleep and rest (ex. Melatonin).  Due to the extensive 16- ingredient blend there are ingredients which help the soft tissue repair often associated from the whiplash mechanism of injury.  I am continuing to collect data and learn to benefits as well as limitations through each patient completing this document: http://bennettschoice.com/injury-form/  
    • I share this information with you as I recently presented at the Ontario Brain Institute. At this meeting it was confirmed the governments involved with the International TBI Initiative (US, Canada, European Union, Australia and China) have collectively spent $160 million in TBI research in the past 5 years. Added to this is the NFL/NFLPA ~$50 million spent in three years. Of this $210 million not a single dollar in any currency has been spent on treatment options. This is truly astonishing. This is confirmed by the Neurologists, Presidents and Board Members of each association. This needs to change, now.
    • The formulation I have developed is simply meant to be used as a single part of any rehabilitation protocol. Re-align, Strengthen and Nourish. Various practitioners do this by exercise, soft-tissue, bone structure and nutrients. My goal is to connect to create authentic and complete protocols which utilize these pillars which will help share knowledge and improve the lives of those suffering as well as the families witnessing the days, weeks and years of symptoms.
    • A few other resources can be seen at:

http://bennettschoice.com/

http://ndnr.com/…/traumatic-brain-injury-impact-assessment…/

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7MvCUZcUptY

Injury form – Bennett’s Choice

BENNETTSCHOICE.COM 

part VII… the blessings begin

On the afternoon of February 28th, I found myself in the local hospital. At the foot of my ER bed, spun a tornado of incoherent conversations between the doctors, nurses and my husband – decisions – options – “the helicopter is ready” – “who do we call first?” – another CAT scan to check the bleeding – more vomit…

phiaSADat13bday …there sat my little Lucie. It was, to me, the only thing I was able to understand, at least partially. I wondered, why is she so sad? Why does she look so pale? Why is she on her phone when she knows it is for emergencies only? Why isn’t her dad paying any attention to her? She looks like she needs a hug. Is she crying?  Ed… quit talking to all these strangers and go to Lucie… I can’t get to her…. something is holding me down.  Would you please hold her? She needs you!

To this day I have never fully been able to crack the shell that Lucie created around herself in those hours in that emergency room. Her 12-year-old heart was breaking. Her mind was whirling with fears and anxieties about her mama that no child should ever have to face. She had to somehow survive it.

She was so brave (she’s always so very brave). She was fighting this battle for me. My little baby was fighting for me. She texted every person in her life… asking them to pray for me.  A gazillion aunts, uncles, cousins, friends… she recruited to be our prayer warriors… she reached out to them all.

Blessing #1… the internal bleeding in my head – suddenly stopped (6:00p).

No more vomiting. No more brain surgery. No helicopter ride to Minneapolis. No more pending death. Eddie’s ‘mad face’ melted and he smiled at me. My condition was finally stable. Gradually, I was wheeled from the ER room to a room in the hospital. Lucie’s texting and phone calls shifted from pleas for prayers to shouts of praises! … her cheeks grew pink papakissingphiaonhead.jpgagain… as they wheeled me down the hall to my new room. My heart smiled while watching her beautiful red hair bouncing as she skipped along and led our little parade of doctors, nurses, and loved ones.

“…do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication WITH THANKSGIVING let your requests be made known to God.”   Philippians 4:6

“WITH THANKSGIVING” … Those two words in the above verse have humbled me for years. Getting thrust into a stressful situation and praying to ‘not be anxious’ is one thing. I get that. But going into a stressful situation, (let alone a near death one), with thanksgiving  and trust for what God is already doing according to His plan – in this very situation – well that is an entirely different perspective for me – a perspective that I could barely fathom at the time. Little did I know, that in the coming years, amidst all of the many anxieties that this concussion would bring to all aspects of my family’s lives, it has also, somehow, brought even more praise and thanksgiving for the amazing things God has done for us through it all.

Tender care and prayers from our pastor, our families, friends and co-workers… carried us through the quick hospital days and transitioned us back into our home life. The doctor sent me home on day two and assured us of the phenomenal turnaround in my condition. Her only prescription was: “Take it easy for a couple weeks. Come back if there are any changes in mood or behaviors. Go home and rest.”

Blessing #2… we are all four home and whole, together.

 

Before you leave this page, if you know of someone or you, yourself, have experienced a concussion… mild, moderate or severe… Please do go to the links below from our website. They are a collection of symptoms, resources and post-concussion care tips. It has taken me 6+ years to sift through, find, and collect the valuable resources below. Had I been made aware of them at the time of my injury, I may have healed differently (possibly completely) from this TBI. The minute your brain is altered through an injury (or any traumatic event), it miraculously starts rewiring to accommodate the alteration. As the hours, the days, the months and the years ticked by for me… rewiring occurred. But it occurred incorrectly. Please take action immediately.

post-concussion symptoms & resources

post-concussion CARE tips & tools

U R NOT alone!

 (please also click on the U R NOT alone! TAB to reveal personal stories from many survivors)

 

*This document is the sole property of L. Marie Drake © 2017.  Permission granted for printing copies of this page on the basis they are not used for personal profit or any financial gain. Thank you.*

part VI… the last ski

Pause… Stop… Rewind…

As you know by now, on February 28, 2011, I suffered a fairly decent “concussion.”  It was identified as a subdural hematoma.  Despite the injury, I did have fun getting it!  My husband, two daughters and I were night skiing at a local, ski slope, trying to get one more ski in before our house projects dominated and the spring melt began (it was also an attempt for me to be done working for the day…10 hours on a Monday!?).  It would glamorize my story if I told you that we were downhill skiing in the Swiss Alps or even the Rocky Mountains.  But no, our ski hill is just a minor hiccup on the surface of the beautiful Minnesota terrain.

My husband, who could sell a single, dirty, sock to anyone… can truly make anything fun (as he edited this for me, he actually tried to think of how he would sell that sock!).  So, with the snow on its last attempts of providing a decent ski-run, we dutifully ventured to the top of each slope.  Not expecting the sophistication of light powder of the mountains on our frozen packed snow, my husband managed to create a sort of ‘follow the leader’ game to make it more fun on the icy runs.  The challenge was for each of us to take turns trying to lead the others on a new, adventurous path to ski down the hill.

Eddie was the leader this time. We all followed him to a hidden path… or what we thought was a path.  Lydia was in front of me and stopped to get her bearings and find the exit where Eddie and Lucie were heading. I took the opportunity to race ahead around them in an effort to up the challenge of the game. Instead, I went onto a direction of the path that truly didn’t exist. Because of poor eyesight, poor lighting and a broken down barrier, I unexpectedly flew forward off a 12 foot drop. In a nutshell, I did the coolest and craziest ski-stunt of my life with no one watching… not one part of my body touched the ground, until the back of my head did.  No broken bones, no bruises, no helmet… just one nice brain-bleed.  

theskihillwithbillyr

Our friend “modeling” the icy cliff… he is a little over 6′. I flew from about 3′ above him to 5′ in front of him.  I told you…. BEST ski stunt of my life!  🙂   Where was the trail-cam when I needed it?

Now we all grew up experiencing a concussion or two, right? As I laid there on the icy snow, I felt this sort of electrical zing travel from my head to my toes; from my head to my fingertips; from my head

What seemed like long minutes later, I felt my girls standing near me… somewhere… I heard their voices. The first thing I saw was my husband’s face. He looked mad (which is how he looks when he’s concerned and he can’t fix things). That is also my internal cue to secretly smooth things over (remember my past?). So deep inside my snow gear, I quickly wiggled my extremities making sure they worked. I then tried to get up from a locked back-bend (my ski boots held me in a permanent position trapped in my ski bindings)… to show my family that I was alright.

Sweet, little arms helped me up as I began realizing what just happened. Normally, I would have fought the woozy sensations and incessant tingling and caught the next chair lift up to a new slope… just to prove to myself that I was fine. But something was different… my husband’s face told me that. We told the girls that I needed to be done for the night… that I probably had a little concussion… and it was almost closing time anyway. We had had a great time. We actually did something fun during the week… so let’s just go home.

Home. Bed… quickly. Family prayers. Lights out.

4:00a… our eldest, Lucie, was calling me from her bedroom downstairs. In a bit of a frantic shuffle, I jumped out of bed and started down the stairs… but they were moving… everywhere. I slinked to my belly and crawled down the remaining stairs and to her room. It was quiet. She was soundly sleeping… but her room was like being in a snow-globe. What was happening?  “Lucie! Can you get your dad? I’m not sure I can walk.”  Still no response. Was I not really saying anything? I thought for sure I was yelling that at the top of my lungs from the floor right by her bed?!  Why couldn’t she hear me?

I began slithering back upstairs… calling for my husband. He woke and found me… and was again mad (24 years of marriage have taught me that this is his emotion for fear and/or lack of control). Again, I tried to smooth it over… “Well, now we know it truly was a concussion. Maybe I shouldn’t drive to school (work) today. Can you wake me in a couple hours … then drive me there?”

Sleep again. Lights out.

6:00a… I cannot wake up. Cannot. But I have to. Fine… I’ll write some substitute lesson plans if Eddie can just set me up at the computer. I start typing… everything is moving again… dang… I run to the bathroom… throw-up #1. Now what was I doing again? Eddie guides me back to bed… with a bucket this time instead of my computer. No work today. Ugh… there was so much to do in the next 4 days of work – teaching, testing, training, report cards, meeting planning/leading, parent/teacher conferences – I couldn’t miss today. I just couldn’t.

From the other room, I could hear Eddie rearranging the day’s events for the girls, Lydia (8) and Lucie (12). Throw-ups #2, 3, 4 and 5. Then back to sleep.

9:00a… I woke up ready to throw up again… but I couldn’t find the bucket? I could hear the girls giggling in the room next door and was mad that Eddie had left them home with me. I didn’t feel up to being a mom today… much less a mom who cared how they spent their day not attending school!  “Lucie!”  Three more shouts and finally she came to my room. “Please find the bucket… I think I am going to throw-up again.”

“Mom, it’s right there. Right by your bed.”

“Where?”  I started throwing up and the bed started spinning, finding the bucket was hopeless because it too was spinning.

“I got it, Mom. Hold still.” She realized that something wasn’t right as I tried to move to the magical ‘moving’ bucket. Throw-up #6.   Yuck!    Poor kid… trying to understand the chaos that was gradually driving the course of our day.

10:00a… the phone was ringing. Had I fallen asleep? It was Eddie. He was checking in on me and trying to make sense of what Lucie had called and explained to him. “You really should call a doctor, Lisa. You should at least talk to a nurse at the clinic and see what you should do.”  Seriously, what I should do…???  I am glued to my bed for fear of the swiftly moving carpet that lies below.  “I’m not going anywhere!”  I hung up on him.

“Lucie!  Bucket!”  Throw-ups #7 and 8… barely made it in the bucket… it’s constantly moving faster now.  Without Lucie holding it and now Lydia holding my body still… it would have been a mess.

11:30a… woke up… kinda. The girls were in my room asking me something, but I couldn’t stay awake. “Mom…”  Asleep again.

12:00 noon… Eddie’s call woke me up. “What did the doctor say?”

“What doctor?”

“Didn’t you call the clinic yet, Lisa?”

“Seriously, would you quit calling me? I am so tired. You keep waking me and I just need everyone to leave me…. (throw-up #9)… alone.”  I hung up on him again. What an idiot, he makes me so mad!

12:30… Eddie woke me up again with a call!!!  “Ed, can you just leave me alone!?!  Why did you leave me home with the girls?”

“Lisa, did you call the clinic?? Some friends at work are telling me that this could be pretty serious. Someone just died from something like this… but it happened slowly over a couple days…”    LIGHT BULB!     He realized what he was saying… I continued to throw-up while he was on speaker phone. As the girls helped me with our new ‘team effort’ of regurgitation, they told their dad the gory details of our morning. They could also see that my belligerent attitude towards him was very unusual… in fact my entire personality was off. Together they decided to make plans to get me to the ER. “I’m calling an ambulance, girls, don’t worry, just stay with your mama. I’ll meet the ambulance at the house” I heard my husband saying.

“No ambulance!” I quickly joined the dreamy conversation they were all having around me. “I’m NOT riding at the mercy of some ambulance… it will make me sick. I don’t want to vomit anymore! Ed, if you want me to go so badly, why don’t you come take me yourself so I can tell you how to drive?!”

I snapped at him one more time and that was it. He was on his way home.

Throw-up #11? or 12? or 13? Whatever, I’m just going to sleep…   everybody   just   leave   me   alone!

Fear… confusion… Just remember, Lisa, “It is the LORD who goes before you. He will be with you; he will not leave you or forsake you. Do not fear or be dismayed.”    Deuteronomy 31:8

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